Anglican Bishop Welcomes Royal Commission Hearing in Newcastle
March 15, 2016
|PHOTO: Newcastle's Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson is urging child abuse victims to come forward as the Royal Commission prepares to come to Newcastle. (ABC News: Robert Virtue)|
Newcastle's Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson says having the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse come to Newcastle will be important for the community.
The Royal Commission will hold a two-week public hearing into Newcastle's Anglican diocese starting on June 20.
The ABC has previously reported that several alleged paedophile rings are being investigated by police and the Royal Commission.
Bishop Thompson said Newcastle needed to hear the stories of victims and come to terms with the abuse.
"One of the most important things is for the community to understand the abuse stories are being heard and not just for the institution but for the community," he said.
The dead priest Peter Rushton, acknowledged by the diocese as a paedophile, is a focus of the police and Royal Commission probes.
The former Woodlands boys home at Wallsend is also a focus, along with other homes in the Hunter Valley.
A police strike force has been set up to investigate allegations of clerical abuse within Newcastle's Anglican Diocese.
Police have told the ABC that the work of Strike Force Arinya-2 was continuing, ahead of the Royal Commission hearings in Newcastle.
|PHOTO: A crucifix outside Newcastle's Anglican Christ Church Cathedral. TV Still November 2015 (ABC News: Carey Harris)|
Bishop Thompson said it was important victims knew there was support available and their stories would be heard.
"There are always people emerging because we're ensuring that they will be heard," he said.
"There is a safe place, and a process where they will be heard, and people are coming forward.
"We know from some years ago people are coming forward as well as more recently."
A team of investigators has compiled a brief and said it was working concurrently with the commission, as it conducted its probe into abuse in the Hunter.